I shall return for Muar
I LEAVE Muar after a three-week sojourn with some regret and not a little envy of the Muarians.
The town has many old buildings. A stroll there is like a visit to a big outdoor museum and every step forward is like a ramble into the past.
The colonial-style facades of many of the old shop houses are reminders of how artistic the developers were in those days.
It is not difficult to tell the age of these shop houses as the years they were built were clearly marked on the facades.
Rain and sun have dimmed their outward beauty but left their structural integrity intact. The overall structures appear visibly strong.
Pillars and arches, the two common features of these old buildings, stand erect and aloof to time.
Swiftlets like to nest in these buildings, probably because the many more nooks offer the birds better seclusion and security.
For a traveller like me, who like heritage buildings, Muar and Penang are favourite spots.
Another reason why I have become envious of the Muarians is the Tanjung Emas waterfront, a lovely spot for leisure and recreational activities — and the simple pleasure of watching the sunset.
On the several occasions I go jogging at the waterfront, I spot many others also there to jog and do yoga, tai chi and stretching exercises. Some, I could see, are there for the mere joy of breathing in the fresh air.
The waterfront is also favoured by senior citizens, who meet there for a good chat in the mornings. They usually leave by 8am, after the sun has risen.
Usually, I walk from the Muar Traders Hotel to Tanjung Mas at 6.30am to warm up.
I start jogging when I arrive, up to the point of the marina jetty.
There is a small park there that leads to Tanjung Ketapang through a narrow embankment and pavement fronting the Straits of Malacca.
I like to walk on the one-foot wide embankment, which could be a little frightening for some.
I am not alone, however, for just off the embankment, many mangrove crabs are walking along with me.
Unfortunately, they are shy creatures that will burrow and hide themselves in the sand as soon as they sense the advance of a potential threat.
It is also common to spot sand pipers searching for food at the mudflat in the morning.
Occasionally, low-flying egrets will land on the mudflat which holds a plentiful supply of food.
The fauna and flora of the mangoves form the perfect backdrop for the visit to the waterfront every morning and evening.
I make a U-turn at Tanjung Ketapang and am back at the hotel by 8am.
I feel very much like one of the Muarians during my stay in town.
Tanjung Emas is the nearest spot in town to get some fresh air.
It is a landmark for the health-conscious.
I am glad to see the townsfolk cherish and treat it as the treasure it truly is.
They say this is a town for retirees. I say this is a town for those who value their health.
Certainly, it is an experience that has left this visitor wanting Muar.
By Sim Bak Heng
Read more: I shall return for Muar – Johor – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/streets/johor/i-shall-return-for-muar-1.274712#ixzz2VE6nFMwr